latimes:

‘Untouchable’ Indian woman becomes a tycoon: Dalits still face discrimination in India’s caste system, but Kalpana Saroj has worked her way up from poverty, becoming a manufacturing tycoon.

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Emerging from extreme poverty and pariah status to a position of strength and wealth has certainly been satisfying, she said. That fact that she is a woman — in a country ranked by the United Nations as among the world’s most dangerous places to be born a girl, given high female infanticide, inferior healthcare and nutrition — made her rise more extraordinary.

And although her ascent hasn’t been without its share of speed bumps or caste-related jibes, she said, she has tried to channel anger and frustration into getting things done.

“I’m aware people may still look down on me because I’m a dalit,” she said. “But even when I was very agitated, I never lost my cool, always trying instead to find my way out of difficult situations.”

Photo: Kalpana Saroj. Credit: Mark Magnier / Los Angeles Times